Nikon D5300

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Nikon D5300 is yet another jewel in the cap of Nikon. With its excellent photo quality, fast performance and great feature set, the company has been successful in improving over D5200 model. It is quite certainly the least expensive camera to use a sensor without an optical low pass filter. The D5300 delivers sharper image than most cameras in its class. It has got an improved body design with a slightly large viewfinder and a bigger high resolution LCD than its predecessors. The camera also bakes in Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities and incorporates a stereo microphone. A new version of image processor has been added that allows for the addition of 1080/60 p video, an extra stop of ISO sensitivity, better battery life and a couple of new in camera effects. Besides, the camera ships with a new kit lens that provides a great flexibility.

The D5300 generates fabulous photo quality for its price class. Although, it does not have the broadest tonal range, it generally produces sharp photos with excellent color reproduction and really good JPEG images in low light. It is equally good to Fujifilm X-M1 and may be better because the higher resolution gives it more detail to work with. The images are strikingly better than D5200, though, it looks like that simply because they are sharper and less noisy. The sensor lacks an anti aliasing filter. As a result of that the images retain excellent sharpness even as noise rises.

JPEGs look very clean up through ISO 800 and they are still quite good at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 shows quite a bit of detail degradation, it is still quite good in well lit areas and many of ISO 6400 shots are quite usable, even printed to 13*19. Shooting raw is advisable for making subsequent exposure adjustments, one cannot improve on the JPEG processing and noise reduction results at any sensitivity. Nikon’s default settings deliver a very good balance between accuracy and pop with saturation and contrast boosted slightly but not enough to produce wholesale hue shifts or egregious clipping in shadow or highlight areas. The bigger issue is the matrix metering which as with D5200 tends to underexpose.

The autofocus system has remained unchanged. However, D5300 bumps up to the next generation of image processing chips over the D5200. The result is very similar but overall slightly better performance. The slow lens driving can be obstructive in autofocus speed even with the new 18-140 mm kit lens. Nevertheless, it is definitely fast enough for most personal or family photography. It takes approximately 0.3 second to power on focus and shoot. Time to refocus and shoot runs about 0.6 seconds in both good and bad lighting conditions. The low light autofocus proves to be the most notable improvement over the D5200. Two sequential JPGs run 0.2 second, increasing slightly to 0.3 second for raw and with flash enabled, it is still a decent 0.7 second.

Continuous shooting performance matches the D5200 at 5.1 fps for unlimited JPEGs and the raw burst remains a still disappointing six frames for a reasonable 4.7fps. Unfortunately, live view autofocus is still frustratingly slow to use and the wide area is too big.

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